While it may be more "realistic" to have fighters start out at peak strength and weaken over time, the point of having them gain ranks over time is to provide a strong incentive to keep them alive as opposed to treating them as throwaway cannon fodder--the longer they survive, the more you get rewarded.
Oh I understood the point of having them get better as an incentive to keep them alive, but my point is that this is a thinly veiled nerf on top of a non veiled nerf in the form of preventing relaunches.
I do not disagree with stopping the relaunches as that always seemed a bit like glitching the cool downs, but fixing that behavior already nerfs our pets dps potential. If pet DPS was not the problem (as previously stated by devs) then why do we need a second nerf in the same update? There is ZERO chance of your pets making it to top rank in any serious PvP unless you are already destroying the other team and don't need your pets.
Reversing the ranking can be seen as offsetting the nerf from the relaunch fix. And honestly if we are talking about full carriers with two hangers no amount of pet babysitting will keep them happy and healthy without completely ending any DPS you are added. 4-12 pets each needing buffs and heals applied as they take damage will outpace even a dedicated healer's number of heals.
Either the pet DPS is seen as a problem and they don't want to come out and say it, or someone had a "wouldn't this be neat idea" and carrier pilots are about to suffer a massive nerf because of it.
That said, love the new UI piece and the idea for docking.